As the assault of the pandemic contiunues unabated, I find that I am getting increasingly numb to the causes and the effects. Some call this pandemic fatigue. Others call it trauma. Or overstimulation or shutdown on sensitivity to the continuing clatter. Yeah, I know a vaccine is supposed to save us, but I am so screwed by up by thoughts of what it means that 250,000 souls have been lost in 10 months, I casnnot even envision what it will feel like when 500,000 have died, a marker I think we will hit before the US population has all be vaccinated.
NUMB. No Understanding of the Many Battles.
Why do we fight about whether to wear a mask? The scientific research unequivocally shows masks save lives (including that of the wearer). Will we fight in a few months whether to get vaccinated? Probably so many will refuse that the overall protection for all of our citizens will be limited.
Why do we fight about dealing with the economy? We have far too many people crushed by unemployment. We can create millions of useful jobs that would improve the infrastructure of the country.
Why do we ignore the mental health and psychological processes injured by the ongoing pandemic? I feel crummy from the pandemic, your family and friends do, and you do. We should be able to agree it is a high priority to repair the damage the pandemic is doing to all of us. And, make even more jobs to achieve this.
Why are we so divided as a society? We have brutual political divisions affecting the healthcare and financial systems. We have racism, the denial of equal opportunity, gender and sexual orientation bias, and many other problems that are growing almost as fast as the virus spread.
I am trying hard to get over my own feelings of being NUMB. Maybe you should also try to stop being NUMB.
Back in 2012, I published a mind map on this blog suggesting that giving people one chance to learn (as in, you only get one taxpayer-subsidized educational opportunity) or to receive free treatment for drug abuse (as in, if you can’t quit the first time you are morally undeserving because you do not have the moral strength) or to receive specialized behaviorally-related healthcare (as in, you let yourself get fat or nicotine-dependent or out-of-shape so you pay the consequences) is an obscene abuse of other individuals,
It’s just as true now as it was then. I know more about mind mapping now and am even more irritated by those who want to balance the budget by not helping others enough, or even at all. So I thought I would revise my mind map and make this a post a lot more angry that we do not give people second (or even eighteenth chances).
Show me a drug abuse treatment provider who says you can go through treatment one time and it will “stick” and I’ll show you a snake oil salesperson who is trying to sell services to 18 year old entertainment industry billionaires surrounded by a media feeding frenzy. Do you really want to deny additional free education to someone who realizes in their 30s or after going to prison or after achieving a stabilized life without drugs or while serving our country in the Armed Services that they need more education to get good jobs and be successful and much better citizens? Mental health services should not be denied or limited to tossing people pills because someone lost the genetic lottery and has a life-time disease or experienced trauma (like a rape victim or maybe somebody unlucky enough to have lived in an earthquake or hurricane zone or in a dangerous neighborhood or in an Armed Services encampment in Afghanistan, Iraq, or Vietmam).
Enough said. The picture will tell more than 100,000 words ever could. And if one fails after 18 chances?
Well, there’s always a 19th chance or a 36th chance waiting. [And a special ring in hell waiting for those who would only offer people one chance at happiness or productivity or health. Or the politicians who supported this position to get (re)elected.] Oh, and if you were one who denied others a second chance, you have a second chance to act in a more moral and supportive way and give others that second or 18th chance.
Click on the image to expand. Then think about whether we should invest in people and families or in creating the wealthiest uber-class in the history of the United States?
To my fellow citizens of the USA, here are some options we have to choose among.
Prioritize mental health services higher and make programs designed to prevent and treat mental illness available in all communities.
Put a police officer in front of every school in the USA between 1 hour before opening to 1 hour after closing. Lock schools to permit access only by the police officer and install locks on all other doors as well as windows with street access.
Implement an effective gun control system in the USA permitting guns to be used by only a tiny percentage of the population in dangerous occupations. This includes limiting the use of guns for hunting.
1 and 3.
All of the above.
Do nothing but watch TV and whine about “them.” The consequence of this choice is watching our children and fellow citizens slaughtered.
This is a choice all Americans need to make using moral values, love for our citizens and especially our children, and commonsense.
I prefer to proceed by implementing effective gun control and effective mental health services. If this does not prove to be sufficient to achieve the goal of removing random shootings of our citizens, we will also need to add armed police stationed at every school and place of worship in the United States.
Don’t let Rush Limbaugh and Fox News decide this issue for you.
A lot of folks think that if addicts or the mentally ill are offered a free drug abuse or alcoholism treatment episode and then start using drugs or alcohol again that “you had your chance” and “we won’t pay for another try.”
I do not believe that. I studied very effective drug abuse and alcoholism and mental illness programs for three decades and repeatedly found that many people needed as many as a dozen different treatment episodes over many years to finally “get over” the problem. This is true for many clients and it is true for the very best treatment programs in the US. A lifetime of learning to become dependent on drug or a lifetime of feeling helpless and isolated is not going to be solved in 28 days in a hospital-based program or in 90 days in a residential drug abuse treatment program. Yes, it does happen for a few. Most need to try at least a few more times before the treatment works. That is the way it is.
Heck, I’d still be trying after 17 failures to give a person who was willing to try to turn their life around another chance. People are worth that.
Here are some of the chances we need to provide to everyone as many times as needed.